Premiere Bay Area Wedding Photography Blog by Trifon Anguelov Photography

1090 Clark Avenue, Mountain View, CA 94040 | (650) 930-0743 | http://www.trifonanguelov.com


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How To Contract a Secondary Wedding Photographer


Wedding Ceremony by Trifon Anguelov Photography

No doubt, every wedding or event photographer has been using or is thinking to use the help of a secondary photographer. Having one on a 10 hours long wedding or a wedding when more than 200 guests are invited, it is simply invaluable. The second shooter is not simply another camera body and lens on the wedding. He or she is going to help you save your energy by not having to run everywhere and endure the entire stress of photographing the wedding day by yourself.

By having someone else being at the cocktail hour and photographing the reception venue and guests socializing at the reception, while you as a primary photographer working with the bride and groom on their portraits, is simply utilizing your time and talent appropriately.

Besides the fact that a second photographer would allow you to capture images from two places at the same time, he or she are also indispensable for capturing the wedding events from a different angles. Many churches restrict the movement during the ceremony and having a second shooter would allow you to get both the groom expression when he sees the bride entering the church and the bride and her dad walking down the aisle to the altar.

Lastly, having someone with spare camera body, set of lenses to borrow in case yours fail for whatever reason is never a bad idea. The second photographer can also give you a hand while setting the lights for the wedding reception or help you tear them down after the end of the wedding. With all these benefits of course, there lies the potential of misunderstandings and conflict of interest if the terms of the working relationship are not well-defined.

Here are few for example to get your head spinning:
•    The copyright law in USA gives the image taker (the person who pressed the shutter button) the copyright of the images, so technically the second shooter can prevent the primary shooter (completely legally) from using his images in any shape or form
•    The second shooter can leak the wedding images on his Facebook site and tag the bride and groom even before the primary photographer has a chance to show them the images. He took the images and what harm a bit of self-promotion can do?
•    Nothing stops the second shooter from passing his business card to all of the wedding guests and offering competitive prices to yours. What is the whole fuss about it? The primary photographer already has tons of clients and need the second photographer’s help. Why not relieve his pain and serve some of his clients?

Well these are just few potential issues you might run into when hiring a secondary wedding photographer if you don’t have a contract with well-defined terms and signed by the second shooter. Below are the areas you should consider addressing into the contract:

•    Wedding Details:

Most likely you have asked your wedding clients to provide you with details about their wedding as location, start and end times, names of wedding coordinator and point of contact on the wedding day. Just because you have this information and know it, it doesn’t mean your second shooter would magically read your mind and have it as well. Small section in your contract for these details would go a long way to make sure your second wedding photographer knows enough about the day and venues to do his / her job as you might expect.

•    Compensation:

Listing the compensation amount and payment terms into the contract is a good idea. Are you going to cover any travel expenses, food allowance or is the second shooter going to get a meal at the wedding? Including these into the contract would help the second shooter understand how is he or she going to get paid and how much.

•    Minimum Number Of Images:

If you expect from the second shooter to deliver a specific number of images for the time he or she is contracted, then list it into your contract. This way the second photographer would be aware and understand before the wedding how many images are expected. If you expect at least 50-70 images per hour of shooting time, then specify that clearly.

•    List of Expected Images:

Many primary wedding photographers have a specific list of images they expect from their second shooters but fail to mention them or discuss them with the second shooter. Vague descriptions as ‘Go at the reception hall and take decoration images” or “Get me some ring and shoes images” might mean enough for you but imagine how a second shooter might interpret this. If you have a specific list of images you expect, list them into your contract so there are no misunderstandings later.

•    Image Quality:

If you have any (most likely you have) image quality requirements, make sure they are specifically listed. Are you OK with images having -2EV or +2EV exposure variance from the proper exposure level? Are you looking for artistic or formal images? Candid or Camera Aware images? Overexposed with flares and light leaks images? Use few words to describe this to the second shooter and I can assure you both of you would be having a much better long-lasting working relationship.

•    Post-Processing: 

If you expect the second shooter “to call the keepers” and deliver only the workable images but no out-of-focus, misfires or badly composed images, add his to your contract. If you are OK with full dump of all images taken during the event and you prefer to do the selection, then you can ask for all the images.

•    Contracting Terms:

This one is for the lawyers but important to have in your secondary wedding photography contract.  Mentioning that you are hiring the second shooter as an independent contractor and not offering any long-term employment contract whatsoever, is a good idea. If you operate in USA, you might have to issue IRS 1099 Form and report the payments you have made.

•    Delivery Schedule:

Defining the deadline for the second shooter to deliver the images to you sets clear date for you to receive the images. If you have a deadline you have to deliver the wedding images to your client, you will need to receive the images and to be able to see the final set before starting the post-process.

•    Client Privacy:

You are responsible for protecting and ensuring the privacy of your clients is protected. Many wedding photography contracts has this clause and you as primary photographer who signed a contract with your clients, are liable if their privacy is breached. Define what you expect from the second shooter. Can he blog or post on Facebook the names of your clients, their religion, address or any personal details? This is something to take seriously.

•    Solicitation:

Most likely you don’t want the second shooter to distribute his or her contact information to all the wedding gusts or to solicit clients on the wedding you have booked and hired him to help you with. It’s common courtesy you might think, but are you going to be protected without a specific clause in your contract? If in doubt, add a clause.

•    Business Confidentiality:

Hiring someone not directly involved into your business would reveal some of your business practices, pricing and techniques. Do you feel comfortable of these secrets being freely shared with anyone the second photographer knows or you would require to keep them private and not shared with anyone? Detailing what could be shared by the second shooter and what not in your contract is a good idea.

•    Images Copyright:

The copyright in USA gives image creator (in the case of film and digital photography, the person who presses the shutter button) the copyright of the images he or she takes. The second shooter would take many images on the wedding. Unless, you ask him to revoke his copyright on the images and transfer it to you, you might be liable if using his or her images without explicit permission. Also you will produce prints and albums with his or her images. Are you going to pay for the copyright to have each image published? Leaving this undefined will make you vulnerable to future disputes.

•    Blackout Period:

Are you thinking to offer the second photographer an opportunity to use the images for their own portfolio, on their Facebook page or promotion instead of payment? If so, you as primary photographer who booked the wedding and suppose to provide the images to your client, don’t want these images to be published or be distributed before you had a chance to present them to the client, right? If so, then clearly mention in your contract how long the secondary photographer is not allowed to publish or use the images. 60 to 90 days blackout period is not uncommon.

•    Prints and Reproduction:

This one is related to the previous one somehow. This clause would prevent the second photographer from offering prints from his images to your clients, producing album or any other type of profiting from the images. If you don’t want your client to receive prints offers from your second shooter on cheaper prices than yours or no offers at all, having this term specified in your contract is a must.

•    Equipment Loan Details:

If you plan to load any equipment to the secondary photographer (camera body, lenses, flashes, company car), make sure you list these and their condition into the contract. Do you expect them returned into the condition you have loaned them? How would you handle any potential damages, or lost? It’s good for both of you to know that in advance.

Conclusion:

I am sure I have missed some of the terms or points a perfect second photographer contract should have but the above should give you a good list of areas to add to your contract. I am neither a lawyer nor have a law degree, so consult your legal adviser or lawyer to draft the final contract.

I also understand that some primary photographers pick a second photographer based on mutual friendship and well established trust and are not going to consider to hire someone they cannot trust. So if some of the terms sound too demanding and you believe might cast a shadow of mistrust on the second shooter, ask your self:

  • Is the business I have worked so hard to establish and grow can be impacted by any damage the secondary shooter can do to my client or my business?
  • Do I feel OK with being unprotected and not having the legal grounds to correct improper behavior or defend my business?

While you will hire a secondary photographer for the mutually beneficial and professional relationship, having well-defined grounds for this relationship would be a great peace of mind for both you and the second photographer.

I hope you found this article useful and easy to read. If you think this information might be useful to anyone who is planning to hire a secondary photographer, please share it by using the multiple sharing options on the bottom. Agree, disagree, have comments or feedback? Think I am missing a point or two or three? Drop me a line in the comments section and I will consider adding it (with full credit to you, of course).

About the author:

Trifon Anguelov Photography is a premiere wedding and events photography business  based in Mountain View, CA 94040 and serving clients in San Francisco Bay Area, CA. To learn more about the services I offer, visit my Wedding Packages page. You can read more about the author on his Wedding Photography Site.
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Wedding Tips For Brides From a Wedding Photographer Point of View


Wedding Ceremony A wedding photographer has the advantage of attending more weddings and have experienced first hand some of the best and worst moments during a wedding than every bride or groom alone. I have been photographing many weddings as primary and as a second shooter for primary photographers to consider myself somewhat knowledgeable about the process. Over the years, I have observed and mentally recorded many of the pitfalls that a bride and a groom make while planning their weddings.

Some are simply the results of inexperience or lack of a wedding planner but other are made because not everyone considers or understands what a wedding photographer might need in order to produce great looking wedding pictures. Even small mistakes could impact the photography of your special day in a negative way.

‪This blog article is an attempt to document some of the wedding planning mistakes and provide a list of tips each bride and groom could consider while planning their wedding. This is by no means an exhaustive list of anything that should be considered or planned for but it is something which could help each couple and make their experience and wedding pictures much better.

So here is the list of things you should consider:

1. Smile Is Something That Makes Your Pictures Good:

It’s as easy as you being happy and smiling over small things that can ruin not only your wedding day but your pictures as well.  It’s the best day of your life and you most likely have been dreaming about it since you were a little girl. Your pictures will look much better if you forget about all the things that can and will go wrong on your wedding day and enjoy the moment with your future husband, family and friends. I observed that brides who are giggly and smiley and actively trying to be pleasant have more genuine and exciting pictures than perfect and model looking bride who is gloom & doom, trying to macro manage her wedding day and focused on every single task the whole day.‬

2. Be Yourself and the Real You:

Hair extensions and super long eyelashes look cool but when it gets to be too much sometimes it looks unreal and fake on your pictures. You will be pictured for generations to come and if you still would like to look real, it is a good idea to apply hair extension and eyelashes in moderation. This is actually more common than you think.‬ The wedding is about you and your groom and all guests come to your wedding because they respect you for the real person you are.

3. Make Your Getting Ready Room Comfortable:

Bringing too many people in your getting ready room might sounds like a good idea and lots of fun but it actually makes the room overcrowded and hard to work in. The photographer needs to be able to move around and capture the moments from different angles and points of view. If the room is overcrowded this is almost impossible with all the bridesmaids and other people in the room shielding the bride from all directions. If you have to invite everyone, then consider booking an over sized room so there is a room for everyone and room for the photographer to move around and take artistic images. Overcrowding and artistic, free-flowing and open spaces pictures don’t go hand to hand.

‪4. Go Easy On the Makeup:

No doubt each bride looks much better with make up than without it. You most likely would hire an experienced makeup artists and hair stylist or enlisted a relative who will put a facial makeup for you. However, it is a good idea to do a make up rehearsal before your wedding day for two reasons: First you would know how long would it actually take to get it done as you would like to and second, you will be able to see it and make any changes of the look before the wedding in case you don’t like it. As a rule of thumb: Less is Better. Ask the makeup artist not to apply way too much makeup especially an eye makeup. Highlighting the eye is perfectly fine but not when the eyes are way over emphasized and turn in to big black holes.‬

5. Consider No Pockets On Your Wedding Dress: 

No matter how trendy or unique look having pockets on your wedding dress might sound, it might not be a good idea to start with. Not that the pockets themselves are bad idea but it’s when you put your hands into these pockets and they stay there for most of the day. Let’s face it. Unless this is your third wedding or you were a wedding actress for years, you will be quite excited and may be bit nervous during your wedding. And guess what people do when they are nervous? They tend to stick their hands into their pockets and keep them there. Bride with hands into her wedding dress pockets causes the hips to look over sized on the wedding pictures simply because it adds to the body shape and form. It is also easy to cause the bride to slouch a bit which again doesn’t look very well on the wedding photos.  With no pockets, the bride will most likely reach out and hold her husband hand, touch her hair or wedding ring which is much more pleasant to capture than slouching. So day no to the option of having pockets on your wedding dress. You would appreciate it later.

‪6. Mind Your Hair Style:

Consider your hair style and how you would look at the wedding pictures is important. During the wedding ceremony, you will be on the left side of your husband and your right side of your face would be facing the guests. Many of the images of you and your husband will be taken from the guests point of view, so if you plan to have a little cute trestle of hair hanging down all on the right-hand side of your head first the guests will not be able to see your face and second all the pictures of you would have your face half covered by the hair trestle.‬

7. Tame The LED and DJ Lights Urge:

LED and DJ lights are cool and fun but they also color everyone’s faces and clothing. Photography is about capturing the light so all these lights over your dress and face will be captured and in your reception photos. There is no magic wand to take them away in post-processing. If you plan to get your reception completely dark and have lots of LED and DJ lights, be prepared to have these all over your face and dress on your wedding pictures.

‪8. Give Your Guests Some Space:

Be mindful that each venue has maximum occupancy and trying to invite as many guests as the venue’s capacity is a recipe for disaster. Getting everyone seated, serving the food, plus having your photographer and guests move around will become nightmare. If your tables and guests are packed shoulder to shoulder imaging how they would feel and how a photographer will move between the tables to photograph them.  Leaving about 25% free capacity is a good idea for not having guest’s chairs pressing back to back against each other and your guests to feel uncomfortable.‬

9. Formal Pictures Need Planning and Participation:

If you are keen on having beautifully arranged and choreographed formal photos from your wedding, please don’t plan them during the reception. I know it is tempting to save time and skip allocating formal group session for everyone and instead hoping to get group pictures during the wedding reception. It is not a good idea and here are few reasons:

  • The cocktail hour is right after your wedding ceremony and before the reception and people after having to attend a 45-60 minutes ceremony tend to get tired and what a better way to calm down their nerves and reduce their stress level than heading down to the bar and have a drink or two, may be three. So if you postpone the group pictures to after the cocktail hour and during the reception, most of the gusts a photographer has to photograph would be half-drunk, looking tired and all sweaty.
  • Imagine having to gather 15 or so people around the reception area. All of these people have to put down their cocktails, appetizers and interrupt their conversations only to have a group photo. No wonder most of the people attending group photo session during the reception look very unhappy or with grossly fake smiles. Do everyone a favor and time the formals accordingly.
  • The task to locate and bring all the family members into the formal photo area is a is chore on its own. Instead of taking the formal pictures right after the ceremony (as I recommend and strongly suggest you to consider), you or your wedding coordinator now have to chase everyone around the reception hall and bring them for the formals.
  • Imagine the level of noise and distractions in the reception hall. You will expect everyone in the formal pictures to look into the camera and smile while there are noises from all the loud conversations and funny faces bystanders or family members would make to each other. What usually happens is that no one looks at the camera and the formal pictures end up as a complete disaster

The solution to all these problems is to plan to have everyone you wish to be into the formals pictures for your wedding, stay in the formals area and have these photos taken right after the ceremony (with a gap of 10 minutes allowing anyone to visit the restroom or catch their breath after your 45 minutes ceremony). For more information on the wedding group pictures, you can read this article: Wedding Photography Styles Explained

‪10. Know Your Wedding Party Mix:

No one knows your wedding party than you and your groom, and maybe the both sides of the parents. If most of the people invited on your wedding party, don’t like or usually dance on family events, investing lots of money in huge dance hall and DJ, might not be a great idea. Could be that other activities on your wedding would make more sense and would let them enjoy your wedding more: cigar bar, photo booth or photo wall, setting up Guitar Hero on a projector, etc.  Not every wedding party will rock the dance floor and if people are mostly sitting around while you and your groom are trying to get them to dance, you would feel awkward after a while, wouldn’t you?  Accept that you cannot change the wedding party, access their interests accurately and plan your wedding party accordingly.

11. Leave The Posing and Photographing to Your Photographer:

Trying to dictate what makes a good photo or not is not always a good idea.  A professional photographer has years of training and experience or posing people and creating good compositions at every situation and location. He is being paid to know how and where to pose you and your party, so: Trust him or her to do the right thing. If he or she doesn’t, then you have a wedding photography contract to protect you from missed or not well posed pictures. Many times as a photographer I have been told, “Taking our images at this beautiful rose garden at noon would look great” or “This old gazebo would look great in our pictures” However all the beautiful colors a bride see would look wash off at noon time simply because the light is way too harsh. It’s the sunlight and harsh shadows which will not make this a good idea. And yes, the gazebo in the middle of a parking lot filled with cars and surrounded by an office buildings would be a distraction for whoever latter looks at your photos.  You hired a professional photographer for their experience and skills. Trust your photographer and you would appreciate it later.   ‬

12. Bridesmaids Are Fun But Not Always a Helpful Bunch:

Don’t over relay your bridesmaids to help you during the day. Best idea is to get planning coordinator or assistant. If you cannot afford one, ask your siblings or immediate family to help you with this. Keep in mind that your bridesmaids will be too busy having fun, and getting themselves ready, than to really focus on helping you out with getting ready. Sure, when things fall apart, they will move the Earth to try to get your wedding on track…  but by the time it has gotten to the point that they notice things aren’t going perfectly for the bride… it might be already too late. You will be frustrated, behind schedule and who needs that on a busy wedding day anyway?

13. Plan a Buffer Time Between Your Venues:

A wedding happens on multiple locations (venues) and you and your family, friends and guests will move from a location to location. It’s best to plan a time gaps between these location to allow your photographer to prepare for each venue. To transition from a dark and in most cases no flash photography churches, synagogues or mosques to bright sunlight outdoors for after the ceremony pictures, requires time for the photographer to adjust. The same when you enter the dark and cramped limo to take you to the reception venue. Grand entry, first dance, etc. Work with you wedding planner to add small gaps of 10 minutes between venues to allow ample preparation time.  It will mean day and night difference and allow light stands and additional flashes or strobes to be setup and ready for you when you arrive.

‪14. Keep Your Photographer Informed:

On your wedding day you will be surrounded by vendors who you personally interviewed, got to know and trusted to do the services you expect from them. Plans can change and this is OK. If you or your wedding planner decided to do something in the last moment, please consider letting your photographer know.  Most likely you would expect to have pictures of this surprise or new additional event to your wedding. An experienced photographer will know how to handle even little things like running super fast into the hall during the grand entrance and trying to get the wave going.  Giving heads up to your photographer even if this is a 5 minutes of lead time would mean he or she is prepared and will capture the moment. By no means is this an ask not to be spontaneous.‬ Just a communication and giving heads up to others so they are ready to take the images of it.

‪15. You, Adequate Time and a Photographer Result In Great Pictures:

Allocate time to your photographer as you do for your guests, fun and party. When a photographer ask you: “There is a beautiful light right now. Can I borrow you and your groom for 15 minutes? It will be well worth it” trust him or her and find time away from your party. Photographers rather have multiple 15-20 minute chunks of time spread throughout the day (especially some time around dusk when the light is soft and pleasing) than a one large chunk of 2 hours at 12pm or 2pm in one location.‬

16. Prioritize Your Wedding Time:

Consider how much time you wish to allocate for pictures and how much for the rest of the wedding day activities or your guests. If you wish to have pictures of every single moment of your wedding and expect these moments to be carefully choreographed and executed, you need to allocate time, energy and patience for it. This will mean your wedding would be like a modeling photo shoot and your wedding photographer will be on the front stage of everything you do. However if you expect your wedding photographer to simply document the real moments of the day and how all of your guests where there to celebrate your love and passion to your husband, then you might want to discuss this with your photographer and plan accordingly. This would mean less formal and posed images and more candid and genuine moments captured in your photos.‬ For more on how much photography time is required during each stage of your wedding day you can read this article: How To Prepare For Your Wedding Day

‪17. Trust Your Vendors:  

On your wedding day trust your vendors and the advise they are providing.  If you did your research right and hired the competent people, why not allow them to do their job.  Sure they have much more experience performing multiple weddings in the last while this is your first wedding most likely.  So, kick back, enjoy your day and let your year worth of planning come to fruition… Don’t drive everyone crazy by trying to micromanage them and impose your own view, which might not be always the right one.

Conclusion:

I hope you found these tips useful and easy to understand. If you appreciate the insights and think this information might be useful to anyone who is planning or might plan their wedding in the future, please share it by using the multiple sharing options on the bottom. As many people learn about these tips and consider them, everyone’s wedding images would be better eventually.

Agree, disagree, have comments or feedback? Think I am missing a point or two or three? Drop me a line in the comments section and I will consider adding it (with full credit to you, of course).

About the Author:

Trifon Anguelov Photography is a Premiere Bay Area Wedding and Events Photography business  based in Mountain View, CA 94040. He has been serving clients in San Francisco Bay Area since 2010. You can follow him on social media (links in the top right sideblock of this blog) or check his latest photography projects on his Wedding and Portrait Photography Site


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Top 10 Mistakes Every Professional Photographer Should Avoid


Snowboard Photo by Trifon Angulov PhotographyMany photographers at some point of their journeys have considered or decided to make their passion a career. They have decided to become a Professional Photographer.

It makes perfect sense, right? After acquiring plenty of professional photography camera bodies and lenses, flashes, filters and all necessary gadgets, learning all about light, composition, post-processing and online marketing, it seems natural to offer photography services to others and start charging money for doing what one loves to do. Not a single day doing a boring work again.

The decision is triggered by many factors like:

  • pro bono gig for your cousin’s wedding or family reunion and the overwhelming feedback from your uncle or relatives for the great job you have done
  • meeting or collaborating with other professional photographers and seeing their work only to realize that their images are not as great as you have been thinking
  • need for extra cash and desire to use some of your free time to earn extra money besides your daytime job

Whatever the decision might be, many photographers decide to make the conversion from amateur to part-time or full-time professional photographer. And after making this big decision, many photographers make the same costly mistakes which could cost their businesses dearly and could be easily avoided.

I did these mistakes too. If I could travel back in time and had the knowledge I have now, I would avoid them and would have grown much faster as a paid photographer.

Here are the top 10 mistakes in my mind, that every professional photographer should avoid in order to build and sustain a profitable photography business:

1. Don’t Overestimate Your Skills :

If you doubt yourself or feel that you are not ready to work with paying and demanding clients, then don’t. Take your time to prepare and be confident of how to pose, direct and manage paying customers in the type of photography you choose to specialize, but once out there talking or working with your clients, don’t stumble and panic if things don’t always go your way.

If you run into a problem, deal with it with confidence. Clients would sense when a photographer doesn’t know what he is doing and most likely will not refer you to anyone or will not leave you a good review after the session. Go at your own pace and don’t jump right into the professional photography without being ready. You can burn out quickly or stumble badly.

2. Don’t Try to Compare Yourself With Other Photographers:

They are at the point they are currently, because they started way earlier than you and have put so much energy and sweat into their businesses. Develop your own style and perfect it. Your style and skills are what potential clients will hire you for.

Ask yourself: If your style looks like the other photographers in your area who are already established, why potential clients would hire you and not them? The answer might be: Only if you offer an unique and fresh style and set yourself apart from the rest of the pack.

3. Establish and Perfect Your Workflow:

From booking, to arranging a session, to shooting and post-processing your images. You will not have enough time to learn and offer services in the same time, or will not have adequate time for both and either both or one would be not on par with what you should be doing.

Take time to learn these before starting to work with clients. It sounds easy, but believe me it is not. You will be spending no more than 15% of your time shooting and the rest of the time would be looking for clients, messaging and arranging sessions.

You will have lots of images to process in a short deadline and if thinking that once you get the clients, you can learn all of this quickly, you are setting yourself for a failure.  Plus, consider all the administrative tasks: responding to emails, social media and blog updates, ordering and shipping prints, etc.

Related: How To Prepare For Photographing a Wedding

4. Establish a Feasible Pricing Structure :

It is important that you have sound pricing from the very beginning instead of trying to low ball your local competitors and later hopping to raise you prices.

What many new entrants into the professional photography do it is try to undercut everyone to get the clients in your area and then hope to raise their prices later. Sounds logical, right? Well, if you try to do that you will get the type of clients who are bottom fishing for the cheapest photographer and not for the image quality or style you offer.

Later when you decide to raise your prices, all of these clients and their referrals would swing to the next photographer who currently offers the lowest prices. Plus you will not appeal to the clients who perceive price as quality and they will not consider you, even if you craft is above the average. Affluent clients don’t drive Kia cars exactly because of the perceived value and image Kia cars have.

Related: Why Wedding Photographers Hide Their Prices

5. Invest Time to Learn The Business Aspect of Photography:

It’s a business after all and knowing how to take amazing photographs it doesn’t mean you will be profitable doing so and can sustain your business. Marketing, presentation, people’s skills, finance and economics and as important as aperture, exposure, composition and Photoshop editing.

Take your time to learn and practice how to budget, how to track and calculate your expenses and profit.

6.Don’t Be Your Own Enemy:

Don’t let negative feedback slow you down or constantly seeking approval for you work from fellow photographers. You will grow overtime and your skills and images would improve, so accept it. You will not be the best wedding photographer from day one but if you continue to do what you decided to do, you will one day.

You can only get better as time passes and you continue to put energy and learn from each session. Make the first step and improve every day by learning from your mistakes, from others mistakes and by upgrading your skills and knowledge.

The worst disservice you can make to yourself is to be afraid to start out and delay starting your professional photography career. Time is something you and no one can bring back.

7. Focus Is Everything:

Instead of marketing yourself as do-it-all photographer, specialize in the type of photography you would like to do in a long-term. If you enjoy landscape photography, don’t start with headshots and think you will transition to be a great landscape photographer later.

You will have limited time to establish yourself and build the skills required to excel into your niche. Plus, you will network with people who share the same interest and will be able to learn from them if you start with the right style from the very beginning.

Trying to do everything for everyone will make you an average photographer in many areas, not one of the best photographers in one area. Niche markers are more valuable and clients look for specialized skills when they hire a photographer.

8. Outsourcing Post-Processing Is Not a Crime:

Don’t be afraid to outsource your post processing. Your time is more valuable to market yourself, learn new skills, meet new clients, capture images and network rather than spending countless hours on processing images.

Of course in the beginning if you set your prices so low that you cannot afford to outsource this task, you will never be able to do that and you most likely will be trapped into your own trap.

9. Build Strong Portfolio:

Your photography portfolio is the best “sales force” you would ever have. Therefore is important that you spend lots of time to build a strong portfolio with quality and well crafted images. 

This is the first thing your clients will ask to see. It is the showcase of your past work, skills and style. People hire a photographer because they are looking for great pictures capturing exciting moments and emotions from their lives. A well crafted photography portfolio published online, makes it easy for your clients to visualize what they will be getting if they hire you and not the guy next door.

Consider TFP (Time For Photos) assignments, discounted services for building your portfolio, etc. The more time you spend building a quality portfolio, the better would be the chances that you will be able to attract and sign the clients you are targeting. You will also have much more confidence in your pricing and would be able to back it up with actual results.

Related: Photography Portfolio Sites: Smugmug vs Zenfolio

10. Threat Your Business Seriously:

You need to be committed to your clients, willing to go an extra mile to find, to excite and book them. Just because you have a website, great portfolio and professional gear, it doesn’t mean the clients will die to hire you. You would be on a job interview with every single client.

You need to prove yourself to every client and try to win their business. And, please, please, take time to write or get help writing a photography contract. It will protect you and your time and energy investment in your business from lawsuits and potential legal actions from dissatisfied clients.

Also don’t procrastinate to register your business entity. Doing business as an individual instead of sole proprietor (SP) or limited liability company (LLC) has huge drawbacks which can ruin your future financially.

Conclusion:

I am sure that there are more than 10 mistakes a photographer can avoid in their career and some would be more important that others. I hope to update this article in the future with additional content, so please make sure to come back and check for updates. If you have done a mistake which is not in the list, drop me a comment. I would love to add it and will credit you for it.

Agree, disagree, have comments or feedback? Would love to hear from you, so feel free to drop me a line in the comments section below. If you find this article useful, please share it with your fellow photographers and friends so they can benefit from it as well.

About the Author:

Trifon Anguelov Photography is a premiere Bay Area Wedding and Events Photographer in Mountain View, CA 94040. It offering wide variety of Wedding Packages  in San Francisco Bay Area, as well Engagement and Portrait services.


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How To Prepare For Photographing a Wedding


Formal Weding Portrait The preparation for photographing a wedding could be a stressful and hectic process if not approached in a well planned and organized manner. Missing an important piece of equipment or having to scramble to be on time for the wedding ceremony or wedding reception could be costly. Once the photographer starts stressing about not being late, his creativity is seriously impacted and can get the whole wedding started on the wrong foot.

Over the years, after photographing many weddings, I have discovered that there are few simple things that every wedding or event photographer can do to be on time and keep the relationship with its clients sound. Imagine how the client feels when it doesn’t see the photographer before the beginning of the wedding, even worst: seeing him or her walking in after the start of the wedding ceremony missing and possibly interrupting the normal flow of events. Not good as you might have guessed.

Although this checklist is not comprehensive, it will give you a good start for things to plan before the wedding. I intend to add more over time, so make sure to come back and check for updates. The steps are not in a particular order but you are free to order them and add mental notes to each one if you wish.

1. Charge Your Batteries:

No one ever regretted having extra charged batteries. But many wished they had one when all other batteries ran out of power. So a day before the wedding, start charging your camera and flashes batteries. This way you can be sure they will be completely charged by the time you need to leave your home for the wedding. And I mean, all your batteries you might need: digital camera batteries, flashes batteries, remote trigger batters. Charge all batteries if you are not sure they are already fully charged. Cameras and flashes use batteries so if you plan to use live view or HSS (High Speed Sync) on your flashes, take this into consideration to ensure you have adequate power available.

2. Format Your Memory Cards:

Formatting all memory cards (plus spares) before the wedding serves two purposes.

First ensures that you will have adequate storage to store all the images without having to swap cards in the most important moment of the day. If you think you have 32GB memory card only to find out that only 4GB left because there are files from a previous wedding on the card already, you will need to swap cards during the start of the wedding which is usually the ceremony. Time wasted, which otherwise could have been used to capture moments for your clients.

Second, it protects you from corrupting your images as formatting the memory card initializes the metadata on the card and zeros out any previous metadata.

Related: 5 Easy Steps To Prevent Memory Card Corruption and Losing Your Photos

3. Pack all Camera Bodies and Lenses:

Packing all camera bodies and lenses you would think you need for the day is time saver. Having to run around the house or to your storage to pick lens on the way out, makes it very easy to forget this 100mm macro lens you need for the detail shots. It’s very easy to grab your back or camera case, put it in your car and leave knowing that all you need is already inside.

Wedding Decorations at Romantic Backyard Wedding in Livermore, CA

Wedding Decorations at Romantic Backyard Wedding in Livermore, CA

4. Check Your Clothing:

Many photographers use formal or black clothing during the weddings they photograph. Looking presentable projects image and you need to have clean and pressed clothing ready. Showing up on a wedding in jeans and t-shirt speaks of the photographer’s image, although if that’s the dress code the couple requested, you will be fine.

5. Load Batteries in Camera and Flashes:

Now that you have charged all your batteries the night before, it’s time to load them into your camera and flashes. Doing this on the location takes time, you would look unprepared and believe me you better use that time to meet the couple, walk the location, take test shots and get ready mentally rather than load batteries.

6. Check Your Filters (CTO, Green):

Many indoor venue have tungsten and fluorescent lights and without proper white balancing, you will not achieve natural skin colors in post-processing later. Pack at least three CTO (1/4, 1/4 and 1 stop) and Green filters to white balance your flashes. Your pictures would look much better by simply attaching the appropriate filter on your flashes.

7. Review Your Wedding Day Schedule:

It’s simple: Plan is nothing but Planning is everything. Knowing the address, directions and timing you need to be at each location is your game plan for the day. The plan most likely will change but you being prepared by knowing the details makes it very easy to adjust the plan and move forward.

You might not be able to look at your wedding questionnaire during the day to check what’s next and by what time you need to finish the bride & groom portrait and get ready for the cocktail hour. Go over the wedding schedule, memorize the important locations, timing, wedding clients names and their family members names.

Being able to refer them by name makes huge difference and projects confidence of you being prepared and having the situation under control.

Related: How To Photograph Wedding Formals

8. Check Destinations and Travel Times:

Now that you know the location and time you are supposed to be there, it’s time to build your itinerary. Go to Google Maps and check how much would it take you to drive from one location to another.

Think about possible traffic peak times and is there anything which can add to the commute time: football game in the area, city festival, holiday travel, etc. being stuck in traffic and late for your client’s wedding, is a recipe for disaster.

Groom's Shoes during a Pakistani Wedding Ceremony in Santa Clara, CA

Groom’s Shoes during a Pakistani Wedding Ceremony in Santa Clara, CA

9. Have Client’s Contact Information Handy:

Get your client’s or wedding coordinator contact information handy. Piece of paper, notes in your smart phone, printout of your wedding questionnaire? Whatever works for you. Make it available and don’t forget to pack it in your backpack. If you need to reach out and talk to them, you would appreciate to have it handy.

10. Charge Your Smartphone:

Let’s admit it. We all need our smartphones nowadays and we are so dependent on them. Making phone calls, answering text messages from out clients, using navigation or maps service, taking a selfie at the wedding. All phones use batteries so in order to use them, charge the batteries the night before.

11. Fill Up Your Car’s Gas Tank:

This sounds obvious but believe me it takes time being in an unknown area, looking for a gas station to refill your tank, while on the risk of getting late. You can save yourself the trouble and fill the tank of your car the night before. This can easily save you 10-15 minutes later.

12. Carry The Charged Battery and Memory Cards With You:

Ok. You charged your extra batteries and memory cards, packed them in your bag and left them in the car while in the last part of the wedding day, the reception, you need to change your battery or memory card before the couple’s first dance and guess what: your car is 200 feet away.

Of course, you are brave heart photographer deciding to make mad dash to your car with all of your cameras (cannot leave them on the table where all kids on the wedding would give them a try, right?). On the way back however you hear the DJ introducing the couple and the music for the first dance playing. By the time you are back the first dance is half over and the couple is looking at you puzzled or may be angry.

You can save yourself the stress and embarrassment. So, put these extra battery and memory cards in your pockets or pouch so they are handy.

Related: Wedding Tips For Brides From Photographer’s Point of View

Conclusion:

To make this guide concise and easy to read, I have not included every single thing you need to consider and plan for. Instead, I tried to give you some of the basics which I have been following and have helped me over the years. Photographing a wedding doesn’t have to be stressful and by following these simple steps you can have a much more pleasant and productive day.

If you find this article useful, please share it with your fellow photographers and friends so they can benefit from it as well. Agree, disagree, have comments or feedback? Would love to hear it, so drop me a line.

About the Author:

Trifon Anguelov is the business owner and primary photographer at Trifon Anguelov Photography, a premiere wedding and events photographer in Mountain View, CA 94040 . You can review Trifon’s Wedding Portfolio and follow him on social media by using the links on his website.


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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Basics For Photographers


Drought in California by Trifon Angelov Photography  The question about Search Engine Optimization or simply SEO sure comes to the minds of every photographer who has a online portfolio or business website to present and sell their work. As mostly everyone in the major developed countries is connected to Internet and uses different search engines to find information, so many photographers nowadays are putting their work and hope to be discovered by their potential clients.

But let’s face it, just because one created a website and put it online it doesn’t mean it will be easily discovered and found. It’s like walking on a very busy downtown street and hoping others will pay attention to you. To be discovered a website has to be first indexed by the search engines which visit (crawl) the website and use automated programs (robots) to read the site content, understand the context of the site and organize all this in their indexes.

So once added into the search engine indexes, each site is being ranked (ordered by importance) for certain search keywords and queries, so when a search engine user types in the browser window that he/she is searching for “wedding photographer in mountain view ca” the search engine would know which are highest ranked (most suitable and useful) websites to contain the information for this query.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is addressing how a webpage domain name, text and organization, plus being updated and linked to other sites (aka optimized) so it appears higher in search engine result pages. The higher it appears, the more likely someone would click on it when searching for the terms the website is related to. The ultimate goal is to be in the first position of search engine organic results.

It’s proven that the first result gets 63% of the clicks, second result 13%, third 6 % and no body really cares to click down further the page. It will amaze many to learn that the first 9 search result links on first page receive 99% of the user clicks. Scrolling to the second page of search engine results and clicking on a link there never happens in relation to all search queries performed daily.

Back to our example for the “wedding photographer mountain view ca” query in Google search engine, the result pages below the first three results (the first three are paid by advertisers) are called organic search results and based on the website page rank.

To increase the rank many factors apply:

– the age of page (the longer domain name and page has been around the higher the trust from SE and rank is. Think of company brand: the older is the more trustworthy it is compared to company registered few weeks ago)

– the keywords the page text or image descriptions have and how they match the search query (website with many “wedding” , “photographer” and “mountain view” keywords would be a good match to the above search query)

– how many other sites are referencing this site (think of a research papers in university library: if every single white paper refers to a research source from the same author, then this author is considered very trustworthy and has higher reference rank – this must be your website, many people link to it and reference it on their website).

These are just few and their weight in the final formula varies from search engine to search engine. Plus the formula changes all the time as each search engine tweaks and tries to beat the search engine spammers which are trying to cheat the search engine and place their spam pages or their clients freshly minted pages higher than the more trustworthy and established sites with more quality content and more useful to users.

So why photographers need to be aware of SEO and optimize their photography websites? Simple: to be easily discovered by their clients and to improve their ranking into the search engine results. One can dramatically improve their page ranking if using keywords relevant to their business as: photographer, photography, wedding, engagement, session, studio, etc. There are so many ways to achieve better page ranking which is a topic of another blog but I hope to answer the question: What is SEO and why one needs to be aware of it?

Agree, disagree, have comments or feedback? Drop me a line in the comments section and if you like this post, share it with your friends so they can also benefit from information.

Written by Trifon Anguelov
Trifon Anguelov Photography is a premiere Wedding and Events Photographer in Mountain View, CA
Book your wedding today at: http://www.trifonanguelov.com/Portfolio/Weddings/


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Is Using Photoshop To Post-Process Photos Cheating?


Trifon Anguelov Photography - Octopus Is a photographer using Photoshop to create composite images or alter digital images cheating the viewers?

This is the question which comes so many times on photography related forums and blogs, topic of so many Facebook discussions and debates. I have been hearing this question so many times while talking to photographers and decided that this deserves a dedicated blog entry.

So let’s first start by explaining what the argument seems to be all about. A photographer captures a digital image, then downloads the picture into his/her computer and starts a digital post-processing in Photoshop. This might include replacing the background of the image, adding additional light sources which were not in the original image, removing subjects or objects from the image, adding objects into the image from another image, combining exposures, etc. All form of digital editing used by nowadays photographers.

On one side of the debate there are the so called “purists”: photographers who believe in pure documentary style of photography and that the main purpose of a photographer is to capture the reality unaltered and unmodified. No changes to the digital images after being captured whatsoever. On the other side of the debates are the “artists”: photographers who don’t like to be constrained from what the reality has to offer and like to add their own vision and touch to each image. They believe that reality is fine by itself but the role of the photographer is to use the reality and communicate the photographer’s vision by altering the digital images.

Each side has their logic behind their choices of course. The photojournalists are trained to capture the events as they unfold, set the stage and wait for the moments to happen, communicate the truth about the moment and emotions as they really happened. While the artists are creative minds, which are bored to death to see the same images of the same subjects or objects over and over and need to express themselves, not just capture the reality.
For me, I am more of the mix from both. Capture genuine moments and emotions and use all tools available to enhance the image and bring the viewers attention to the focal point if the image. A picture needs to have a story with both interesting subjects or objects but also with refined post processing to make an impression.

Why I think so. Simple. Ask yourself: Is adding special effects to movie cheating? Don’t we all enjoy the movies with special effects exactly because they invoke certain feelings by enhancing the main story?
Is painting the walls of our homes cheating, or dressing in different clothes every day cheating? We were definitely not born with clothes or our the walls of our homes didn’t come painted with the colors we like. Are women dressing their hair and putting make up cheating? The examples, go on and on.

The point is that photographs need to be genuine and not fake. The photographs are intended to documenting the reality and it is what the photographer should do but in the same time a photographer need to be able to inspire the viewers, provoke their feelings and generate ideas. Adding digital effects or altering digital images is not a sin but a creative process in which the photographer creates their own masterpieces from what seems to be everyday reality. It’s what differentiate one photographer from another photographer. It’s what makes one picture to look different and communicate different ideas from another.

Agree, disagree, have comments or feedback? Drop me a line in the comments section and if you like this post, share it with your friends so they can also benefit from information.

Written by Trifon Anguelov

Trifon Anguelov Photography is a premiere Wedding and Events Photographer, Mountain View, CA
Photography Portfolio at: http://www.trifonanguelov.com/Portfolio/

 

 


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How to Display Camera Focus Points in Lightroom


Trifon Anguelov Photography - Chairs Every photographer knows that modern cameras use multiple focus points to allow a focus point to be selected before capturing the images. The number of focus points vary from camera to camera and the more expensive and sophisticated a camera body is, the more focus points it has. There is a dedicated auto focus sensor in each camera to allow the proper focusing. More advanced cameras even allow the photographer to group multiple focus points and let the camera select which focus point from the focus group to use for best focus.
And finally there is an fully automated focus point selection mode in which the camera selects and tracks a focus point continuously. So many great options and capabilities in modern camera bodies.
In post-processing when the images are downloaded and processes however, the focus point information (the location where the focus point was actually locked while capturing the images) is not easily viewable. Especially, when using Adobe Lightroom digital editing software. In the past a photographer had to use third party tools to load the images in order to see the focus points. But now there is a FREE Lightroom plug-in which allows to do that in Lightroom.
It’s supported on both Apple OSX and Microsoft Windows OS and easy to install. Just visit: http://www.lightroomfocuspointsplugin.com/ for installation and usage details.
I have tested it last night and works as expected. You have to be in “Library” mode in Lightroom and you need to scroll down to the very last menu option on the bottom “Plug-in Extras”. From there select “Show Focus Points” and voila, you will see where exactly your camera has focused.
Knowing the focus points helps you in a multiple ways. First, it allows you to see if you completely nailed the focus during client sessions. Second, allows a photographer to adjust and correct its focusing techniques and see the results in post-processing. So if you ever wanted to see the image focus points in Lightroom, now you have a free, easy to install and use solution.

Agree, disagree, have comments or feedback? Drop me a line in the comments section and if you like this post, share it with your friends so they can also benefit from information.

Trifon Anguelov Photography
Wedding and Events Photographer
http://www.trifonanguelov.com/Portfolio/Weddings/